A Worst Case Scenario for 2012

Many people I speak to are disappointed with President Obama, and I can understand it, I have had my moments of downright anger. I believe that the biggest reason for this is not that he did this or didn’t do that, but that we have not seen any change. Unlike Congress, he does not owe the corporate lobbyists for his election, he owes the people. The funny thing is that the founding fathers gave Congress only two year terms to guarantee that they would not be in office long enough to corrupt the government. They believed that the people would catch on quickly to any corruption and those who were partial to special interests would not have enough time to do any real damage. Little did the founding fathers know, that because they only had two years, they would have little time to do anything for the people because they had to guarantee that the corporations that paid for their campaigns, would pay for the next. So their allegiance is to the money and not the people. However, the President’s campaign was paid for by the people, and he has only three years to secure their support.

I have peeked over the shoulders of the Fates, and seen the path ahead of us, so I was not expecting him to fix the economy, or put an end to war. I was hoping for mind blowing, never saw that coming CHANGE. I was hoping for something like an executive order putting a moratorium on foreclosures, I was hoping for a change, like attacking the problem from the bottom up, instead of the same ole, same ole trickle down method, which never quite ends up actually trickling down. I was not hoping for a solution, as I was hoping for a new paradigm in the way the government goes about seeking solutions. I was hoping for a change. Now, I know that most of the Republicans in Congress have no intention of doing anything except protecting the interests of the corporations that keep them in office. And many others have the singular goal of making sure that anything that could keep President Obama in office, fails. Yet, I hoped that in this unprecedented time of suffering for the citizens of the United States, he could declare a state of emergency and by executive order, do something wild and outside of the box to help the people. That would be a change, one not seen since FDR. I really feel that the only thing that that can lead us at least in the direction of better is different.

As we face 2012 with understandable trepidations, and as we Astrologers face a configuration that is very difficult to gloss over because it has never passed without notice. The last time we saw this set up was the great depression and WWII. I have been saying to people that there was not going to be some devastating event. But I am not too sure anymore. We are facing a minefield, one in which we would be well served to revisit the history of that last time we saw this lineup. It would do well to revisit Germany, because they were experiencing a terrible depression. People were going through exactly what we are experiencing today an environment of fear and helplessness. Then a man came from obscurity to power, a man named Adolf Hitler.

Sadly, when people lose hope, they seem to find solace in being given someone to blame, someone to punish – because it is something that they can do to relieve their helplessness, and even shame. Find a bad guy, eliminate the bad guy, and live happily ever after. So, regardless of what is happening in the televised economy, the people are living in a growing climate of joblessness, homelessness, and increasing hopelessness. If something drastic is not done soon to effect the lives of those Americans who once lived in homes along Main Street, but now are living on the sidewalks, in parks and cars along Main Street, there is no telling what will happen. However, history tells us that those ingredients have always made a volatile cocktail.

The thing that scares me is that 2012 is an election year. Whom we elect could be the spark that ignites the fire. It will depend entirely on whether or not President Obama can justify the hope that he gave us, in exchange for our votes. Because I fear, it was all the hope that we had left. If he cannot deliver for the people, if he cannot deliver a reason for our hope, then I am very much concerned that whoever runs against him in the next election, as in Nazi Germany, will deliver a scapegoat for our rage.

How We Could Recover And Why We Won’t

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —”The Declaration Of Independence

Since the “recession” began in 2007 we have lost over 9,000,000 jobs.  However, the job market began shrinking before that with the quiet and consistent transfer of jobs by large corporations to other countries where the labor costs were much cheaper.  So predicting how long it will take us to get to a place where the economy is healthy and our lives once again feel secure requires certain knowledge.  It is easy to go back and figure the rate at which we lost the jobs.  So the first thing that we need to do is know how many jobs will be added each month and of course, when this adding will begin.  I am no economist, but I do know that we can’t solve for x if x is all that we have.

Our jobless rate and the rate at which we increase jobs is solely in the hands of the major corporations that have already proved they have no interest in anything that does not increase profits in the short term.  The largest corporations, those that have replaced American workers with either computers or just outsourced them would have to return the jobs to American workers.  Once those jobs were returned, the income tax paid by those workers would begin to flow into the Treasury.  These workers would once again require and be able to pay for the goods and services provided by the small business owners which in turn would need to hire additional workers.  Businesses that were once built to service employees of the larger businesses would once again be able to open up, thereby employing more workers.  This would deliver more income tax to the government and more money circulating in the economy, which would bring more jobs.

However, the largest corporations. those having the ability to hire the largest number of people in the shortest period of time have proven themselves too consumed by greed and addicted to wealth and power to to consider giving anything voluntarily.  It would require the government doing something like changing the tax laws that give them so many breaks and loopholes, and connecting tax breaks to hiring employees, maintaining employees, and perhaps providing health benefits.  This would bring the workplace back to where it once was before the cancer of greed was so widespread. But this is not going to happen, there is no way for a government controlled by the corporations to turn around and do anything that big business does not want.

The argument that the rich will not hire if we increase their taxes is moot, since they have not hired even though regardless of their tax rate, they have so many loopholes that they barely pay any taxes and still these corporations only increased their profits by decreasing their American workforce.  In fact, the following article shows that the more incentives we give them the more they take from us.

How Corporations Built to Loot Lobby to Win

Posted on October 4, 2011 in Inequality news, Legislation, Taxes

Some of America’s most flush corporations are demanding a tax holiday on their profits sitting offshore. But the last holiday, a new Institute for Policy Studies report makes clear, produced a nasty hangover.

America Loses: Corporations That Take “Tax Holidays” Slash Jobs
Need a job? You might want to dial up WIN America, the business lobby that’s calling on Congress to declare a “tax holiday” on the profits U.S. firms have sitting overseas.
WIN America — short for “Working to Invest Now in America” — didn’t exist until earlier this year. Since then, the 18 major corporations and 24 trade associations that make up the group have spent a remarkable $50 million on their “tax holiday” campaign. They’ve hired, news reports last week revealed, 160 lobbyists.
Now that’s job creation. Of course, your shot at getting one of those jobs will rise enormously if you happen to be a Capitol Hill insider. The WIN America new hires include at least 60 former staffers of congressional leaders — with 42 of those formerly employed at the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees, the two panels that write up all America’s tax laws.
Why does WIN America need all these insiders? To get a new “tax holiday” into law, the corporate giants that make up WIN America are going to have pull an inside job. WIN America’s proposed “tax holiday” may be the most outrageously rich people-friendly piece of legislation now pending before Congress.
That’s not, of course, how WIN America’s small army of lobbyists is positioning the measure. They’re claiming that corporations will “repatriate” all those profits they have overseas as soon as Congress gives them a tax “incentive” to do so. Those repatriated dollars, WIN America pledges, will help create jobs in America.
In theory, that sounds good. But we don’t have to depend on theory to gauge the value of a corporate tax holiday. We can look to past practice. Incredibly recent past practice. Congress, turns out, gave Corporate America a tax holiday on overseas profits just seven years ago, in 2004.
That tax holiday handed 843 U.S. companies a tax break that cost the U.S. Treasury $92 billion. What did American taxpayers get back? Not much. In fact, the Institute for Policy Studies revealed last week, not anything at all. Most of the firms that claimed a tax holiday in 2004 went on to reduce their workforces.
Tax holidays don’t create jobs. They do create windfalls for top corporate executives.
The new IPS report, America Loses: Corporations that Take ‘Tax Holidays’ Slash Jobs, looks at the 58 corporate giants that together accounted for almost 70 percent of the overseas profits repatriated after the 2004 tax holiday.
These 58 job destroyers — led by Citigroup, Hewlett-Packard, Bank of America, Pfizer, Merck, Verizon, Ford, Caterpillar, Dow Chemical, and DuPont — went on to shed almost 600,000 jobs after their tax holiday tax break.
But don’t these companies have a perfectly reasonable defense? Haven’t we experienced a Great Recession since 2004? We certainly have. But these 58 corporations aren’t hurting. These firms are currently holding over $450 billion in spare cash.

Of the 58 corporations that the new IPS report puts under the microscope, notes report co-author Scott Klinger, only eight reported losses between 2008 and 2010 — and 43 have registered profits every single year through Great Recession hard times.

“If companies were struggling, and unprofitable, then dramatic downsizing might be warranted,” adds Klinger. “But when companies are prospering, sitting on record levels of cash and saying they need tax cuts to hire workers, their argument makes no sense.”

Tax holidays, on the other hand, do make sense for top execs. A huge share of the overseas profits these execs generate come, the new IPS report notes, “from accounting acrobatics that shift profits generated from sales in the United States to foreign tax havens where corporations face little or no income tax.”

Tax holidays give these executives a second bite at the tax-avoidance apple. They don’t pay taxes overseas or, thanks to tax holidays, back home either. Tax holidays, as IPS report co-author Chuck Collins puts it, give preferential treatment to companies “built to loot” over companies “built to last.”

The new IPS America Loses study suggests a variety of steps we ought to be taking to end this preferential treatment. Passing one key reform bill now pending before Congress, the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, would shut off most of the tax loopholes that encourage profit shifting overseas — and raise an estimated $100 billion a year.

Congress can do a great deal, the new IPS report sums up, “to strengthen the U.S. economy and create and protect jobs.” But a “tax holiday” that rewards CEOs who pile up profits by shedding jobs and sashaying around the tax code only strengthens — and protects — our most shameless corporate looters.”

So, we are at the mercy of the greediest and most shortsighted people in the country.  These are the same people, who guarantee their profits by investing in political candidates who, having only two years before the next election can only represent their benefactors and never have the time to represent their constituents.  Our government has been successfully arranged by those with special interests, to be capable of only doing nothing.  It is called a two party system, however, it is more like five parties working under the umbrella of two.  This assures our failure just as does any tribal system – no union, no success.

We live in the deeply divided states of America.  So divided, that the needs of the many are lost to the needs of the few.  The corporations have the government so deeply in their pockets that there is no way out so long as our government is set up to promote the continued intrusion of corporate influence.

“A State divided into a small number of rich and a large number of poor will always develop a government manipulated by the rich to protect the amenities represented by their property.”
–Harold Laski
British political theorist (1893-1950)

There is no lobby for the people…oh, of course, it is supposed to be Congress.  This lobby is new.  It is happening while we are all talking about the deficit and building the economy.  The corporations cheat the government, sorry, I mean cheat the people with a growing sense of entitlement.  It is the government that prostitutes itself to the corporations that was and is continuing to be responsible for the destruction of this country.  These Congressmen are totally aware of all that these corporations are doing.  They support what they are doing, fighting any jobs bill that prevents the following from happening:

The Massive Rewards for Corporate Tax Dodging
Posted on August 31, 2011 in Inequality news

Corporations don’t dodge taxes. People do. The people who run corporations. And these people — America’s CEOs — are reaping awesomely lavish rewards for the tax dodging they have their corporations do.
The latest annual executive compensation report from the Institute for Policy Studies, released today, tells an old story — with a stunning new twist.
The old story: The pay gap between what CEOs and workers in the United States take home continues to widen. Last year, S&P 500 CEOs walked off with 325 times more pay than average American workers, up considerably from the 263-times gap in 2009.
The new twist: Many of America’s major corporations are now actually paying their CEOs more in compensation than they pay in federal taxes.
“Ample evidence suggests,” notes the new IPS report, Executive Excess 2011, “that CEOs and their corporations are expending considerably more energy on avoiding taxes than perhaps ever before — at a time when the federal government desperately needs more revenue to maintain basic services for the American people.”
Among the report’s other key findings:
Of last year’s 100 top-paid corporate CEO, 25 took home more in pay than their company paid in 2010 federal income taxes.
• Of last year’s 100 highest-paid corporate chief executives in the United States, 25 took home more in CEO pay than their company paid in 2010 federal income taxes.
• These 25 CEOs averaged $16.7 million, well above last year’s $10.8 million average for S&P 500 CEOs.
• The 25 firms that paid their CEOs more than Uncle Sam last year reported average global profits of $1.9 billion. Only one of the firms reported negative global returns. Eighteen of the 25 firms last year operated subsidiaries in offshore tax haven jurisdictions. The firms, all combined, had 556 tax haven subsidiaries.
• The most profitable of the 25 firms: General Electric. GE last year ranked 14th among U.S. firms in global profitability. GE received a $3.3 billion tax refund, despite reporting a whopping $5.1 billion in U.S. pre-tax income.
• Of the 25 companies that paid their CEO more than Uncle Sam, 20 also spent more on lobbying lawmakers than they paid in corporate taxes. Eighteen gave more to the political campaigns of their favorite candidates than they paid to the IRS in taxes.

How can this happen?  It happens because there has been a consistent effort to dumb down America.  The public schools are so bogged down with too many students, too few teachers and so many tests that have to be passed by the students in order for the schools to get their funding, that they only teach students to memorize, and no longer teach them to think.  Why, in such a rich country, is the education of the children who represent our future so low on the list of priority?  The only logical reason is that so long as we keep turning out generations of Americans who can memorize what they are told, but not think, discern, or question the information given to them, the powers that be can manipulate and control the government as much as they want.

THINK, PLEASE, then send your prayers and support to those courageous men and women who are marching for change, marching to be counted, marching to insist that the American Dream be return to it’s rightful owners, the American People and…marching for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

And let your congressman know that you know what he or she is doing and will not stand for it.

Do Not Underestimate The Power of The People

Denise Gibel-Molini

It seems to me that the message that was sent by the people who voted this new administration into office  is being lost in Washington.  There is an enormous difference between government interference in private business, and the taxpayers need to control the incomes of those who they are paying.  The government does not have its own money – it is our money.  These financial institutions that are in need of help from the people, the taxpayers, of the United States, have no right to put stipulations on the help that they get.  That right is ours and ours alone.

In my opinion, these institutions are holding us hostage.  They are counting on the fact that the country needs money to be available for loans.  Each time that one of these institutions refuses the our help, they are saying, “We hold all of the cards, without us, you will fall – and you won’t let that happen – so stop pretending that you are the ones with the choices.”  We are being held hostage, and I fear that our government will cave.

Those who run these financial institutions believe themselves to be superior to us.  They don’t care about those of us whose lives have been ruined and will continue to be ruined by their unceasing greed.  It appears to me that the Republicans, either still feel they are representing the wealthy, or believe that our collective memory is shorter than theirs.  They don’t remember that on election day, the people spoke out.  And they believe that we don’t remember AIG.

Limiting executive compensation for those firms that borrow from the American people is the least that the government can do for the taxpayers.  It is our hard earned money that is being given to these  greedy institutions.  The institutions that played such a large role in the unemployment of over five million American, and homelessness of millions more.  What are we doing?  At enormous cost to us, to our children, and to our grandchildren we are lending money to institutions – money, that very likely will not be paid back.  This is our money, our blood money, it is not the government’s money.  Why should we not determine how our money is spent?  Why should we be kept in the dark as to how our money is spent?  How can our Representatives, bein of sound mind, call this, ‘government interference in private industry’?  This is the lender (the people) laying out the conditions of the loan.  What lender does not have conditions?  What lender does not have built in recourse when a loan is defaulted on?  Do we?

We need to send a message to all who would seek the help of the people.  The message is, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” I would like to see the government tell these institutions to look elsewhere for the money.  Instead of lending it to the banks in hopes of the banks lending it to the people and to small business, the government should itself, lend the money to the people and to small businesses.  The idea of the borrower stipulating the terms of the loan is, to me,  the same, in this instance, as negotiating with terrorists.  How many Americans have and are literally losing their lives because of the practices of these firms?  How many American children are homeless and hungry because of the greed that this country so seriously suffers from?  Why should we, as a people, as taxpaying citizens of the Unites States of America,  kowtow to the banks?  Are we not greater than them? Perhaps, no one heard us last November when we said that we wanted change, or, perhaps the people in Washington somehow have forgotten whose money we are talking about.  I suppose we will have to speak louder and more clearly on the next election day.

We must Change the way we Choose to Change The Way we Live

The changes over the past eight years have made me consider for the first time, the meaning of being an American.  In the past, whenever I thought in terms of being an American , I thought about being born in the country governed by the Constitution, a document I still find to be awe inspiring.  But over the past eight years, being an American has come to mean something else.  It means being a part of a nation symbolized by George W. Bush.  In a very real way, his decisions have been a reflection of me, as an American, his beliefs have been a reflection of mine, as an American.  Because we, as Americans have placed him in the highest office, chosen him to be our face our thoughts, our decisions, and our voice, to ourselves, and to the world.  So, being an American over the past eight years has meant being Quick Draw McGraw, with little need or respect for education, history, those considered experts, or being held accountable for the result of my actions.

When we elect a President we are electing the symbol of who we are as a nation and as a people.  And even if we are not thinking about it at the time, somehow it just seems to happen that way.  Being a citizen of a nation has a different quality based upon that nations leadership at the time.  Being a citizen of the United States had a different quality during the time of slavery.  Being a citizen of Germany had a different quality during the time of Hitler.  Being a citizen of a nation is not about real estate, it is about the beliefs, values, and integrity of the leadership – especially in the case of elected leadership.  “You will know him by his works” – well, our works, in this case, are that ballots that we cast.  We can try to distance ourselves, we can point the finger, but  to paraphrase a statement made by someone in the Bush white house when asked about why they do not consider the overwhelming desire of the people to get out of Iraq,  the response was, “The people have one opportunity to make a decision, that is on election day every four years”.  That being the case, I think that it is time we seriously change the way that we decide.

Now, when George W was running for President, other than what turned out to be a Washington outbreak of sexual promiscuity, led by President Clinton and followed closely behind by most of the officials seeking his impeachment.  Other than that we were not really facing any major crises.  The only imagined threat at the time to the stability of our nation as a result of the attention paid to President Clinton’s infidelity, came from the Gay community seeking the same rights as all other human beings.  “Morality” being the only major issue facing our candidates – paved the way for the self-named moral majority to take over and elect the one person who was White, Male and embraced Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, even though he stumbled on two syllable words, failed in almost every business venture that he was involved in, did cocaine, had a major alcohol problem, fudged his service record and carried a six shooter.  In the country’s desperation to find a president as far from Bill Clinton as possible, we went from a Rhodes Scholar to George W.

George W ran a dirty mudslinging campaign; and his right to the office of President will forever be tainted by doubt.  There were not enough of us really looking at the man we were electing to symbolize and guide our country.

The President leads the country.  We do as he does.  During President Reagan’s administration, the country was one big Hollywood movie set, everything including shoulders were big.  During President Clinton’s administration there was a great number of people in the government, in the clergy and in the populace who were secretly using their dipsticks indiscriminately.  Sex became bigger than the shoulder pads on Dallas.  Now, during the Bush administration we took out our six shooters and waged war, greed went over the top, and education was given the same respect as he gave it, which meant that if the country did not have a huge gambling addiction and played lotto, most if not all of the nation’s public schools would be forced to shut down.  The war that we want out of, was supported by the majority of the people in the country – and we cared as little about getting more information before jumping in as the President did. President Bush has charged up a national debt of $9,571,086,623,544.22 – and he is looking to increase the nation’s credit limit by 3.1 trillion dollars.  So, since the country seems to follow its leader, and its leader spends, spends, spends and tells the people to spend, spend, and spend some more in order to boost the economy, we did, to the tune of approximately 2.5 trillion dollars in household debt.

Here we are again, approaching that one day every four years when we have the opportunity to participate in the future direction of our country and our lives.  We are faced with a war that Senator McCain said could last 100 years; a war, by the way, that we can’t afford to pay for.  So now we must choose the candidate who has the integrity, beliefs, values and concerns that we want to represent us for the next four to eight years.  The first and easiest way to judge a candidate is how he runs his race.  Remember the saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose that counts, it’s how you play the game.”  Is the campaign honest and above board, or does it throw honesty and integrity to the wind?  Does the candidate play fair or hit below the belt?  Will he win because he is the best man for the job, or because he used performance enhancing tactics instead of his own fitness to come in first?

When a candidate spends all of his time talking about what the other candidate did or didn’t do, will or will not do, that candidate is clearly not very strong on what he himself has done or will do.  We need to vote for the candidate with the best agenda and the realistic means of fulfilling it.  We need to choose a candidate because we are intelligently informed as to what the candidate plans to do about the many crises facing our nation and the world.  Our candidates need to convince us, not why we should not elect his opponent, but why we should  elect him.  They need to convince us that they have a well thought out plan, that their plan will work, and most importantly HOW their plan will work.

We need economic plans from the candidates that can be critiqued by experts as to their viability, and the cost to us in programs, or taxes, because we will pay somewhere.  I believe that we should know in advance before we vote, where the bill will have to be paid.

For our healthcare crisis, what are their plans and how will they work?  And for Iraq, if one candidate has a plan to pull out, how and what will we leave behind?  If the other candidate plans to stay until we win, what does winning the war in Iraq look like?  And how does winning the war in Iraq influence Islamic Jihad throughout the entire region?  How does an increase in troops create a meaningful lasting peace between warring religious factions?  And what about eliminating our dependency on oil, foreign or otherwise and replacing it with more eco friendly fuel sources?  What about the issue of global warming and the effect it is having on our economy and our food supplies.  We need the plan, we need the timetable, and we need to know that we have the time left to implement whatever it is.

Anyone old enough to vote, is old enough to understand the answers to these questions.  We need the answers to these questions.  We need to choose – not based upon who can sling the most mud the fastest – we need to vote for the candidate who, in our minds best represents us, and has the best agenda for the well being of the people of this country.  It is not an issue of experience, because – no one in history has faced so much before.  No one has the experience to handle all of the crises on our plate, but someone must have the wisdom and foresightedness to do so.

We don’t need one candidate to tell on the other like little children, he did this no he did that – we need men, who don’t need to point fingers to win, who can stand on their own two feet, with confidence in their own agenda’s and their own records and with these things, along with honor and integrity – face the nation as candidates worthy of being President of The United States.  And we, need to vote with our brains, for the man who best represents our needs – because we only get one chance to do the most important thing in our lives and the lives of our children once every four years.  This time, knowing how much can change in the blink of an eye, we need to demand to be informed.  We need to demand an honest election.  We need candidates who trust that we will make the right choice given the right information, just as they expect us to trust them with our nation and our lives.